Zero ZF9 Maintenance – incorrect ‘Charger connected’ warning

Bike: Zero S ZF9 electric motorcycle
Owned for: 4 weeks
Mileage: 2083

I wash my Zero using a watering can (triple wax) and brush first of all, followed by an application of wax on the fibreglass.

Today I started the bike after the wash phase, only to find that the motor would not engage and the warning light was flashing the 1-2 pattern, meaning (according to the manual) that the charger was still connected.  Only it wasn’t of course.

A note on a similar from Doctorbass on electricmotorcycleforum.com indicated it could be a short circuit in the wiring above the battery – so under the ‘tank cover’.  Whilst everything is supposed to be ‘splashproof’, that’s not the same as waterproof.  Time to investigate…

  1. Off with the seat.
    Undo the retaining bolts at the rear of the seat and slide back to disengage.
  2. Open up the ‘tank cover’. Remove the nasty plastic pop-rivets from the black insert on the tank cover.  I found on my bike I could pop up the front two from underneath.  The rear two are made of sterner stuff, but I found the inner part could be pushed out with a 4mm hex wrench from beneath.Undo and remove the 4 aluminium hex bolts around the seat lug.
    Image

    Remove the black insert to show the fuse box beneath.  It’s not necessary to completely remove the tank cover, but I found that removing the hex bolt securing it at the front (behind the forks) enabled it to be moved around somewhat.
    Image

  3. Remove the fusebox plate to expose the wiring. The plastic mounting plate for the fusebox for the handlebar controls (and the indicator flasher beneath) is secured by two hex bolts at the front.  Remove them and lift the plate up.  I put a rag over the side of the tank cover to prevent it being scratched.Image
  4. Clean and dry the wiring and connectors. Maybe the best feature of the Zero is not where someone decided to put most of the connectors – right where all the muck comes up off the front wheel.  It really was mucky there, and probably some water from my washing had got into a socket, possibly exacerbated by all the mud.
    ImageI used an air compressor to blow away as much dirt as possible, then a damp cloth to clean up the loom and connector casings.  Then I found this ‘dead end’ connector, clearly not waterproof and just as clearly fairly full of water.

    Image

    So all cleaned (well, alot better) and dried, a quick test showed.. success!  My first fix on the Zero!  Time to to rebuild.
    Image

  5. Reposition wires and replace the white plate.
    Image
  6. Reassemble tank cover
    – Front bolt (loosely)
    – Four hex bolts (loose at first)
    – Plastic pop rivets.  Remove the core, insert the rivets then push in the core back in.
    – Adjust the position of the tank cover so as not to snag the indicator stems on full lock, then secure all bolts.
  7. Replace the seat.
  8. Make a cup of tea!

Notes and future mods:

1. Replace all plastic pop rivets with alloy bolts.

2. Make a cover to protect the connectors on top of the tank and improve the waterproofing of some of the connectors.

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